I just had a message posted on my Facebook wall - 19 weeks until Christmas. Yep, that's right you heard it here. It's seems you never have enough time to get everything done and yet Christmas keeps barrelling on down on us.

Any minute now we will be complaining about Christmas Decorations up in stores and seriously why shouldn't we? December is the month of Christmas, so that logically is the month that decorations should actually go up. You can't tell me that if you started putting up Christmas decorations at your place in the first week of September, you're friends wouldn't start regarding you as a little quirky (at the very least). 

The thing is, I understand the importance of being prepared. I am not one of those people who find's joy in racing around in the days just before Christmas madly trying to purchase gifts. I get in early and by early I mean January  (if I spot something special I think someone will like) and I put it away in my present cupboard. This cupboard also stores birthday presents, mothers and fathers days presents .... you get the idea. So, the thing is I get in early. I like early because I like to be prepared. What I don't like is having Christmas rammed down my throat when we should be celebrating other events, milestones and occasions in our lives. Not suffering from a false sense that the year is almost over again... come on, we still have more than a few months left in this one!

Funnily enough, the thing that got me started on this theme was not Christmas decorations and the lunacy of when they go up but rather what to buy the kids for Christmas. I know that this has not been apparent so far in this post before this moment but stay with me and it will become clear.

So what in 2012, do you buy for kids? I came across another post on Facebook the other day where a mother asked whether she should purchase an ipad for her 2 year old. My response was of course, are you kidding me? I haven't even been able to justify the expense of purchasing one for myself - why would I purchase something so expensive for someone who can't even put their own pants on by themselves? (Pull them off yes - but that's a story for another day). I know for a fact my 2 year old doesn't care what is left at the end of his bed, in fact he would be ecstatic with a box. (ahhh, the simplicity of life when you can get excited over a box).

Now, my 9 year old is a different story altogether. He wants what every other 9 year old wants, the "latest thing". This year it's an ipod touch, Bionicles and Skylanders (if you have never heard of Skylanders, you are obviously not hanging with any boys between 5 and 10 - otherwise you'd be drowning in them). Funnily enough, "old school" items are also having a resurgence, such as skateboards and Lego (which has been made over for the 21st Century - read: boxed up, given a theme and is ridiculously expensive).

Now obviously he's not getting everything on his list but how do you choose which is the most appropriate item? Should you make purchases based on how educational the gift is, how much fun it is or do you just get them what they want most (that week) - how do you make your choice?? 

I think at the end of the day, I am most motivated by things which come in one or two large pieces. I am sick of picking small pieces of crap up from yesterdays "must have" disgarded toys so that I can vacuum the carpet.  Which is why it always amuses (no, irritates) me when that ad for Kmart toys comes on and the mum gleefully exclaims over a $25 toy "wow, look at all the pieces!" - are you kidding me? She should be getting excited about it coming in one full piece because it will be less to pick up when the kids are over it and keep leaving it laying around the house!

In fact I find Christmas decorations going up early less annoying than all the toys which come with a multitude of optional pieces (yeah - tech decks, I'm talking about you!) but only just.

So, how about you? Are you an early Christmas shopper or do you save it all to the last moment? What do you look for in a gift for kids? What do your kids just have to have this year? Good luck, give it a month




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